2024 RBC Canadian Open Preview: Everything To Know About Hamilton Golf & Country Club

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Written By John Haslbauer | Last Updated
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The PGA TOUR heads to Hamilton Golf & Country Club with the 2024 RBC Canadian Open. Compare Canadian Open odds at the best sports betting sites to increase your potential PGA TOUR golf betting payouts. Rory McIlroy, Sahith Theegala, and Tommy Fleetwood project as the top favorites for this upcoming tournament.

It’s a tough act to follow for the 2024 RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf & Country Club. There’s no stage that compares to the atmosphere this event brought last year. With a miracle 72-foot putt in the second playoff round against Tommy Fleetwood, hometown hero Nick Taylor etched his name in Canadian sports history and ended a 59-year drought since the last Canadian won the Canadian Open. It’s fair to say this event has momentum on its side now and the crowd will be energized to cheer on a repeat Canadian winner.

We’ll see a change of scenery this week. The Canadian Open takes us back to Hamilton Golf & Country Club (last: 2019). A 7,084 yard par-70 venue, Hamilton G&CC opens the playing field for bombers and plodders alike, rewarding strategic positioning off-the-tee, and streaky irons and putting around these nuanced Harry Colt greens.

Without further ado, let’s run through the key facts and info about Hamilton Golf & Country Club ahead of the 2024 RBC Canadian Open.

RBC Canadian Open ODDS: THE FAVORITES

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THE FIELD AT A GLANCE

The RBC Canadian Open features a full field of 156 players. Set to host for the 112th time, the Canadian Open is one of the longest standing events on the PGA TOUR, dating back to 1904.

Rory McIlroy is the headliner this week. He’s won two of the last three years at the Canadian Open, which includes the last time this event was contested at Hamilton Golf & Country Club in 2019. Rory won in dominant fashion that year. Tied for the lead with Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar going into the final round, he blew the doors off with a Sunday 61. He said after the round he was more focused on shooting 59 than winning the tournament by the time he made the turn.

McIlroy is in a class of his own. He’s be joined by other prominent names like Tommy Fleetwood, Cameron Young, and Sahith Theegala.

Of course, we can’t talk about the Canadian Open without mentioning Nick Taylor. Taylor established himself as the most popular athlete in all of Canada this time last year, when he became the first Canadian to win their nation’s open since Pat Fletcher in 1954. The 72-foot miracle putt in his playoff victory over Tommy Fleetwood will live on as one of the most iconic walk-off wins in PGA TOUR history.

In addition to McIlroy and Taylor, we’ll also see former Canadian Open winners Jhonattan Vegas and Brandt Snedeker back in the mix. Notable Canadians in the field this week include Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin, Mackenzie Hughes, Nick Taylor, Taylor Pendrith and Adam Svensson.

INTRODUCTION TO HAMILTON GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB

We have not seen Hamilton Golf & Country Club often in the Canadian Open rota recently, but it is set to host for the 7th time in this event’s centuries-long history. Hamilton G&CC was last seen hosting the 2019 Canadian Open. Prior to that, it hosted in 2012, 2006, 2003, 1990, and 1919.

A course renovation was led immediately following the 2019 Canadian Open, and similar to what we saw with last week’s overhaul of Colonial CC, the cause for renovation was more sustainability than playability. The extent of the renovation project included reconstruction of tees, bunkers, and greens on all 27 holes, a new irrigation system, practice putting green and practice area. Complications from the COVID pandemic resulted in a 3-year renovation project, but by the end, it was recognized as the 2022 Golf Digest Best Renovation of the Year.

Several holes were expanded by up to 20 yards following this renovation in order to adapt to modern distance advancements in the professional game, but the layout and routing has not materially changed since we were last here in 2019.

Learnings From The 2019 RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf & Country Club

The 2019 Canadian Open is where Rory McIlroy demonstrated one of the most dominant displays of his career. He gained 21 strokes on the field, the second most of his illustrious career behind his 8-stroke win at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional. Rory flirted with a 59 on Sunday, needing a birdie on the final hole to join that exclusive fraternity. Instead, he settled for a modest 7-stroke win, tallying a final score of 22-under-par while just 10 players in the field reached double-digits under par.

The context of Rory’s dominance over the rest of the field is important for a few reasons. It’s easy to see a winning score of -22 and assume that Hamilton Golf & Country Club is a birdie fest. With a field median score of +2 over four rounds, not only was this event not a birdie fest in 2019, it was actually one of the most difficult non-Major events of the 2019 PGA TOUR season. It’s fun watch to look back on and see one of the most in-rhythm rounds of golf from Rory McIlroy we’ve seen in the past decade.

Rory’s dominance may also give off the false perception that players with elite distance can bomb and gouge their way around Hamilton G&CC a-la Bryson DeChambeau at Winged Woot. In reality, it’s still a combination of trendy ball striking and putting that allowed McIlroy to separate from the field. It doesn’t always work out this way, but each of the top-6 finishers for the week in 2019 ranked top-7 in SG: Putting.

McIlroy’s surge here may overshadow that it is actually the accurate plodders who were predominantly featured in the top-10 by week’s end. Webb Simpson, Shane Lowry, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Adam Hadwin, Sungjae Im, Graeme McDowell, and Henrik Stenson rounded out the top-10 here in 2019. Sungjae was the only player from that group in addition to McIroy who gained in Driving Distance for the week, and all were positive in Fairways Gained.

How It Breaks Down

As a 7,084 yard par-70 with just two par-5s and dramatically sloping greens, birdies are harder to come by at Hamilton Golf & CC. The layout yields an interesting dichotomy of approaches with either wedges or long irons, given its mix of moderate par4s, long par-3s, and two reachable par-5s.

Since the renovation in 2019, the extended tee boxes have led to a more even distribution of par-4s. In total there are three par-4s under 400 yards, five between 400-450 yards, and four over 450 yards. In 2019, just two par-4s measured over 450 yards, placing a slightly higher importance on long iron approach play this go around. The 5th hole remains a driveable par-4 for longer hitters in the field.

Designed by Harry Colt, architect behind the infamous Open Championship venues, Royal Portrush and Royal Liverpool, Hamilton Golf & Country Club doesn’t have nearly the same links identity. It is a Bentgrass, parkland golf course on the mainland surrounded by trees, but does share in common oversized, undulating greens as its greatest defense.

For Hamilton Golf & Country Club course specs, hole-by-hole breakdown with yardages, and past winners with their pre-tournament odds, visit our RBC Canadian Open page.

Editor’s Note

COURSE HISTORY AND COURSE COMPS

It’s been five years since we last saw Hamilton Golf & Country Club, making its debut on the Canadian Open rota here in 2019. Rory famously steamrolled the competition that week, winning by seven strokes and a birdie on the 18th hole away from firing a Sunday 59. While renovations have been since 2019, the course is not expected to have drastically changed since. Top-15 finishers at the 2019 Canadian Open who have returned to the field this week include Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Adam Hadwin, and Mackenzie Hughes.

Course Comps

With only four prior rounds to reference at Hamilton Golf & Country Club, identifying the right comp courses is crucial for handicapping this week’s event.

There is a clear top-3 of TPC River Highlands, Colonial CC, and Detroit Golf Club that comes to mind when researching Hamilton Golf & Country Club. All of these courses are short on the scorecard, but are not necessarily “positional”. Shorter plodders will benefit from creating the right angles into these undulated greens, however the penalty for near misses off the fairway does not seem severe at Hamilton G&CC. Like these other three comp courses, long hitters have begun to pick up an edge by playing aggressively with driver, producing leaderboards with an equitable mix of bombers and plodders alike.

Rory McIlroy tends to avoid Colonial CC and Detroit GC, but his overlapping history at TPC River Highlands is unblemished, placing top-20 in all five prior appearances. Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, and Adam Hadwin each finished inside the top-6 at the 2019 Canadian Open and have shown great history across these three comp courses as well.

Less Strong But Still Useful

After these three, TPC Deere Run and Innisbrook Resort come to mind as shorter-yardage venues where both bombers and plodders have found success, both featuring more dramatic elevation changes in line with what we’ll see at Hamilton Golf & Country Club. Agronomically, Hamilton G&CC is more similar to TPC Deere Run with Bentgrass throughout, however it’s moderate scoring difficulty should play more similarly to Innisbrook Resort.

Recent Canadian Open venues Oakdale Golf & Country Club and St. George’s Golf & Country Club should serve as fair comps as well, featuring the same agronomy with Bentgrass and Poa mixed throughout. Compared to the last two years, Hamilton G&CC should resemble 2022 host, St. George’s G&CC more closely, given the similar scoring difficulty and yardage.

Finally it’s worth mentioning the Harry Colt connection, as the architect behind Hamilton Golf & Country Club also designed Royal Portrush and Royal Liverpool. Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry finished 1-2 at the 2019 Canadian Open and each have Open Championship wins at Royal Liverpool and Royal Portrush.

Wrap that altogether, and the top-10 players in comp course history are Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin, Tommy Fleetwood, Aaron Rai, Mark Hubbard, Chez Reavie, Sam Burns, and Seamus Power.

KEY STATS TO CONSIDER

  • SG: T2G (<7,200-Yard Courses)
  • SG: APP
  • Prox: <150 / Prox: 200+
  • Par 4: 400-450
  • Par-3 Scoring
  • Good Drives Gained/Driving Accuracy
  • SG: ARG / Sand Saves Gained
  • SG: Putting (L36, Poa)
  • Comp Course History

I find myself taking a more broad strokes approach to the stat model profile this week with a limited sample size of one prior tournament at Hamilton Golf & Country Club to reference. Beginning most simply with recent form, the top-10 players in terms of SG: TOT over the last 16 rounds are Rory McIlroy, Alex Noren, Aaron Rai, Tommy Fleetwood, Ben Griffin, Mac Meissner, Taylor Pendrith, Keith Mitchell, Matt Wallace, and Robert MacIntrye.

While far from a second scot golf course, I expect we’ll see an above-average Fairway In Regulation percentage this week, as players will not be required to hit uncomfortable drives with the option to play more conservatively off-the-tee on many of the par-4s. That leaves approach play as the great separator. The top-10 players in SG: APP leading up to the week are Corey Conners, Keith Mitchell, Shane Lowry, Greyson Sigg, Aaron Rai, Ryan Moore, Akshay Bhatia, Rory McIlroy, and Patton Kizzire.

In 2019, the approach distribution showed a high concentration of approach shots inside 150 yards on the seven par-4s under 450 yards. The remaining holes on the course predominantly draw approach shots from beyonf 200 yards. The top-10 players in weighted SG: Approach with the 150-200 yard range removed are: Patton Kizzire, Sahith Theegala, Daniel Berger, Matt Wallace, Luke List, Andrew Novak, Aaron Rai, Thorbjorn Olesen, Chandler Phillips, and Shane Lowry.

Combination Stats

Hamilton Golf & Country Club is short, but not necessarily a “target golf” course like Harbour Town is. Driving Accuracy is helpful here, but may be a misleading stat on its own, as inaccurate drivers can get away with a more conservative approach off-the-tee here. Just eight players rank above-average in SG: Ball Striking, Driving Accuracy, and SG: T2G on Comp Courses: Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Sam Burns, Corey Conners, Shane Lowry, Aaron Rai, Carson Young, and Ryan Moore.

With fairly generous fairway landing areas and expanded greens, Hamilton Golf & Country Club profiles as a course where elite wedge players and putters will be best equipped to separate themselves from the pack. Just 8 players rank top-40 in Weighted Putting (SG: P L36, Bentgrass) and Prox: <150: Sahith Theegala, Shane Lowry, Justin Lower, Carson Young, Victor Perez, Dylan Wu, Cameron Young, and Harry Hall.

To sum this all up, I’m looking to zero in on players in trending form with proven results on comp courses and elite ranks in SG: APP (<150 yards and >200 yards), and Weighted Putting. Just five players meet that criteria: Tommy Fleetwood, Cameron Young, Carson Young, Shane Lowry, and Sahith Theegala.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Alex Noren

A drought needed to end at the 2023 Canadian Open, whether that was going to be Tommy Fleetwood’s winless history on the PGA TOUR or the Canadian Open’s continued quest for a native champion. We all know Nick Taylor paid off the latter, but I think it’s Noren’s turn now to put an end to one of the longest winless droughts on the PGA TOUR.

Remarkably, the 41-year-old former Ryder Cupper who still ranks top-50 in the world, has yet to win a PGA TOUR event with over 140 starts under his belt. In fairness, Noren did not come stateside until later in his career, amassing 10 International victories during his time playing across Europe. Averaging 1.5 strokes gained per start in 2024, Noren is statically having the best season of his career now, which leads me to believe that first career PGA TOUR win is inevitably coming soon.

We’ve seen uncomfortably short odds on Noren in recent weeks, but he has continued to justify them with a current streak of eight consecutive top-25s finishes, including a solo 3rd at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson three starts ago. Hot form aside, Noren’s game profiles perfectly for what is required to contend at Hamilton Golf & Country Club. He ranks top-15 in SG: APP, SG: ARG, SG: P (Bent), and Driving Accuracy, and is second only to Rory McIlroy in terms of SG: TOT over the last 16 rounds.

A 7,000 yard course that does not penalize for lack of distance and instead rewards streaky approach play and putting is the perfect recipe for Noren’s game, as he’s put on display with top-10 finishes in each of his last two trips to Detroit Golf Club, one of my favorite comps to Hamilton Golf & Country Club. His odds will be short, but this is a week I’m comfortable buying high with Noren checking so many necessary boxes.

2024 RBC CANADIAN OPEN ODDS: DFS PLAYER POOL

With all the course-fit profiles in mind, I’m leaning early towards the below player pool. Naturally, I’m looking their way in the 2024 RBC Canadian Open odds as well. I’ve broken the list down by projected pricing/odds tier for DraftKings.

UNDERDOG GOLF DRAFT RANKINGS TIERS

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Tier 1

Rory McIlroy
Cameron Young
Shane Lowry
Sahith Theegala

Tier 2

Tommy Fleetwood
Alex Noren
Sam Burns

Tier 3

Adam Hadwin
Aaron Rai
Corey Conners
Keith Mitchell
Tom Kim
Akshay Bhatia

Tier 4

Erik van Rooyen
Taylor Pendrith
Mark Hubbard
Patton Kizzire
Dylan Wu
Mackenzie Hughes

Tier 5

Mac Meissner
Carson Young
Ryan Moore

rbc canadian open MODEL RESULTS & BREAKDOWN

In my BTN model, I’m emphasizing SG: APP first and foremost, followed by a more balanced mix of Recent Form, Prox: <150, Prox: 200+, Comp Course History, Fairways Gained, SG: ARG, and SG: P (L36, Bent).

Rory McIlroy is in the field this week and Scottie Scheffler is not, so naturally it is Rory who claims the No. 1 spot in my model. Rory will be the prohibitive favorite having won two of the last three Canadian Opens and riding peak form with a T12 and two wins over his last three starts.

After McIlroy, the rest of my model’s top 10 is rounded out by: Aaron Rai, Corey Conners, Alex Noren, Sahith Theegala, Tommy Fleetwood, Mark Hubbard, Keith Mitchell, Cameron Young, and Shane Lowry.

When 2024 Canadian Open odds open Monday, I’ll look to Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood, and Alex Noren amongst the favorites as my first potential targets. I’ll also keep an eye on Aaron Rai and Adam Hadwin in a second tier of values, depending on where the odds ultimately open.

Check back in later this week for more updates. Best of luck navigating 2024 RBC Canadian Open odds!

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